In a body of work completed during the last year of his MFA at the Art Institute of Chicago, Rafael Vega shifts the direction of his practice and begins to walk backward in order to better understand the primal conditions that embody a painting.
“Departing from any subject matter that can be construed as an image or even an abstracted image, my interests have shifted to the exploration of formal transactions within the picture plane. Questions about the idea of a painting as a window and a wall, the flat support, labor, and the connection between form and interpretation are raised by the use of simple maneuvers in the application of paint, the use of limited palette, and the repetition of forms. Within these basic terms lie my concerns; satisfying a desire to understand the structure, constitution and construction of a painting. I have adapted a kind of “scientific view” into my studio. Every process is treated as a closed system of reaction, with a limited number of variables worked at a time. Working with the limited gave me the capacity to maximize my options and the sense to appreciate the notion of repetition. I repeat to question and understand, in order to catch the precise moment when a certain form is transformed into another.”
A series of twelve paintings of identical size demonstrates the extent of Vega’s ideas to the materiality and production of painting. Here, acrylic and spray paint is used on Masonite panels, sometimes crudely marked with specific cuts, to create works that recover the applicability of medium specificity while using a different set of circumstances.
Rafael Vega was born in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico in 1979. He moved to New York City in August 2012 upon graduating with an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in chemistry and physics (2003) and a Bachelor of Arts degree (2007) from El Universidad de Puerto Rico. During the last year of his studies at the Art Institute of Chicago Mr. Vega was awarded gallery representation by the prestigious Walter Otero gallery based in Puerto Rico.